Do you know the top education statistics?
The importance of education cannot be overemphasized. Countries that understand this fact have made education a priority and it is evident with the growth the countries experience the impact education makes on the growth and development of a country.
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#1: Literacy Rate
Literacy and getting formal education dates to many centuries ago, even beyond hieroglyphics and what we now know, as writing. However, for those early centuries, was limited to those who were on the higher level of the social strata. Now, however, with the widespread production of schools and books, individuals can aspire and achieve formal education. In recent times, there has been advocacy for making education cheaper and more accessible. But despite this progress, there are quite a number of countries that are operating below expectation, as far as education and literacy rate is concerned.
As expected, the literacy rate is lower in developed countries, making clear again how intertwined education and development of nations is. According to UNICEF Data conducted in 2016, literacy rates among youths are lowest in Central and West Africa.
According to latest research conducted by World Atlas, countries like Andora, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, amongst others, including countries that were part of the former Soviet Union have a near 100% literacy population. Many countries in developing countries are at the bottom of the ranking with Nigeria having a literacy rate of a 51.0%
#2: Child Labour
Children are supposed to be in school but many of them are victims of child labour getting involved in one form of unpaid or paid labour. Sometimes, the work is harmful but most times, it is not harmful because in most cases, they work for the family to help increase the family income. That is why this is prevalent in poor homes and poorer countries.
Survey conducted based on Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and other nationally representative surveys, 2010-2016 by UNICEF global databases in 2017, indicates that in the world poorest countries, around 1 in 4 children are engaged in child labour.
Central and West Africa has the highest rate of child labourers (29 per cent of children aged 5 to 17 years). In the Middle East and North Africa, fewer than 1 in 10 (7 per cent) of children in this age group are performing potentially harmful work compared to 11 per cent of children in Latin America and the Caribbean.
While in some regions, both male and female children are likely to engage in child labour, in most regions, female children engage more in child labour than their male counterparts.
As for Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), about 50.8 per cent of Nigerian children, ages between five and 17, are involved in child labour.
What indicates is that many of children are prevented from going to school because they spend that time working while some are made to work before and after school.
#3: Out of School Children
Many countries, understanding the need for education, have been making efforts to increase the number of children in school, especially in the elementary or primary and secondary school level. Unfortunately, despite the progress made, there are still a large number of children who are out of school and so, more needs to be done.
According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics global databases for the school year ending in 2017, around 262 million children and youth are out of school. The entirety includes 64 million children of primary school age, 61 million of lower secondary school age and 138 million of upper secondary age.
In Nigeria, based on the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) conducted in 2015 by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Nigerian government, the number of out of school children in Nigeria has increased from 10.5 million to 13.2 million. This places Nigeria as the country with the highest number of out of school children globally.
#4: Access to Early Childhood Education
It is widely known that early childhood education is the foundation to a stable academic life and the quality of the education usually determines how the life of an individual will go academically.
Children from poor homes and children in poorer countries are the least likely to have access to childhood education.
According to UNICEF global databases, 2017, based on Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and other nationally representative surveys, 2005-2016, about 6 in 10 children aged 3 and 4 in Latin American and the Caribbean attend early learning programmes compared to just one in four in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.
As for Nigeria, based on a report by UNICEF Nigeria, one out of every five out of school children in the world is in Nigeria. About 10.5 million of Nigeria’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. Only 61 percent of 6-11 year-olds regularly attend primary school and only 35.6 percent of children aged 36-59 months receive early childhood education.
The South have a higher rate of students in school but the North records an attendance rate of only 53% and the female children have an even lower attendance rate of 47.7% and 47.3% in the north-east and north-west respectively.
#5: Education Funding
Considering how important education is and how it affects the growth and development of a nation, governments are increasingly making education a priority and the priority that any government places of education is evident in the percentage allocated to education in the budget. Some countries, as expected, allocate more funds to education than others.
Generally, globally, according to UNESCO, governments fund for education more than is often assumed and primary level education enjoy the highest funding because most countries make primary school and secondary school free and compulsory.
Unfortunately, in Nigeria, education is still very much under-funded. The percentage of the National budget allocated to education for the past decade has been less than 8%. In fact, the recent 2019 National Budget presented to the National Assembly allocated just 7.02% to education even though UNESCO recommended between 15 to 20 per cent.
#6: Access to Books
Access to books is essential for literary development. Children with more access to books are better literarily and it sets a stronger pace for them academically.
Unfortunately, many children do not have enough access to books to help their academic pursuit. In Nigeria, data from the 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) revealed that only 5.6 percent of the children involved in the survey live in households where there are at least 3 children’s books accessible to the child
#7: Gender Equality
Clamour for gender equality and parity has been ongoing for decades now but still surprisingly, literacy is higher among males than females.
According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics global databases, 2018, literacy rate among youths is the same for both males and females in two thirds of countries. However, many countries are still lagging behind, especially in Central and West Africa.
The same would be said for 2017, according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics global databases where there was a 0.96% gender disparity index between males and females between the ages of 15 and 24 and 0.92% between the ages of 25 and 64.
There is no or little difference between male and female adult literacy rates in Central Asia, Europe and Northern America, Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. While, there are relatively large gender disparity in Northern Africa and Western Asia, Southern Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Among youth, gender disparities in literacy skills are generally smaller and improving more quickly over time.
In these three regions with the highest level of gender disparity as it relates to education, the statistics show that women aged 15 years and older are one-fifth less likely to be literate than men in the same age group. And globally, women aged 15 years and older are nearly 8% less likely to be literate than men, and young women between 15 and 24 years are 3% less likely to be literate than young men.
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